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Old 25 November 2017, 04:27 PM
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New and Improved! Last one is closed.

My stupid question is for our British Snopesters: What is a housing estate and/or Council Estate? I don't know if they are the same/similar or not. Is it some kind of low-income housing?

Thanks.

MG
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Old 25 November 2017, 06:56 PM
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My understanding of it is that Council Estates are always social housing provided by the local municipality but a housing estate can be private housing built by a developer or it can also mean a Council Estate. I guess the difference might be a housing estate is usually a place where you buy a house but a council estate is where you rent. I think that's gotten blurred now too though as I'm sure I've read about municipalities starting to sell off at least some council houses. So the definition may be more tied to what time period or year you are referencing than anything else!
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Old 25 November 2017, 08:16 PM
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Does anyone know the URL for LMGTFY? I can't remember if it's a .org or a .com.
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Old 25 November 2017, 11:15 PM
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I called up ICANN to ask but they put me on hold. I'll let you know if they ever answer.
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Old 25 November 2017, 11:24 PM
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Huh... ICANN. Had to google that. Well, let me know what you find out. There's someone I'm just dying to use LMGTFY on, if only I knew the proper URL.
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  #6  
Old 26 November 2017, 12:01 AM
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Hello! As our token British poster these days, I should like to address the "housing estate / council estate" question. As far as I can see, there were at least three parts to the question:

1) Q. Are they the same thing?

A. No.

1a) Q. Are they similar?

A. Partly; see below.

2) Q. Is it some kind of low income housing?

A. Partly; see below.

3) Q. What actually are they?

A. I'm glad you asked. (See below).

Council housing is housing that was built on behalf of, and is owned by, the local council. Traditionally this would have been mostly for low-income families who couldn't afford private market rents, although (in the ideal) there was no social stigma attached to it, and it wasn't supposed to be means-tested. A lot of it was built in the days when governments actually felt that they had a duty towards the well-being of their citizens ("voters", perhaps), and that therefore making sure that the state contained a decent supply of housing that people could afford to live in was a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

A housing estate is simply a development of houses on a particular area of land that have been built by the same developer at the same time. The name does carry the connotation that all the houses are built to a similar design. It also implies a planned development. It doesn't necessarily imply cheap or low quality housing, and it implies nothing about the ownership.

Most council housing (but not all, because councils can also own individual properties) would have been built as a planned build on a particular area of land - whether a greenfield site, or a brownfield site after demolition of the houses or other buildings that were already there. Therefore, most council housing could also have been described as a housing estate.

So, over the years there was some blurring of the terms, and sometimes people use "housing estate" in a disparaging manner as though it means "housing for poor people". Neither term actually means that.

There has been complication over the last twenty or thirty years in that Thatcherite policies mean that councils have had to sell off a lot of their housing under "right to buy" schemes, and the rate of building new ones has gone down severely - council housing used to be one of the big drivers of new housing in the country; these days, "the market" is supposed to drive this stuff and has failed to do so, leading to a housing crisis and hugely inflated prices. But now we're getting a bit political.

In US terms, as I understand it, the term "projects" covers the intersection between the two - what we would call a council housing estate. But I don't know what you call either half independently of that. You must have housing estates - they're part of your suburban iconography, for a start; rows of identical houses where everybody comes out to pick up their newspaper at the same time. But I don't know what you call them; and I don't know what you call government owned housing, whether it's built like that or not; or even whether it exists in the USA.

I hope this helps.
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Old 26 November 2017, 12:35 AM
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I think "subdivision" would be the closest equivalent to "housing estate." They're also frequently called "neighborhoods," but that term also encompasses areas that developed more organically/over time.
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Old 26 November 2017, 12:49 AM
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Huh... ICANN. Had to google that. Well, let me know what you find out. There's someone I'm just dying to use LMGTFY on, if only I knew the proper URL.
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=let+me+google+that+for+you
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Old 26 November 2017, 12:53 AM
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I think "subdivision" would be the closest equivalent to "housing estate." They're also frequently called "neighborhoods," but that term also encompasses areas that developed more organically/over time.
That sounds about right for Canada too. Or at least my part of Canada. With regard to "Council housing" the closest we have here (I think) are neighbourhoods that are "geared to income" there might be another name for them but that's what I've heard it called by people I know who've rented in these areas. Usually there is a waiting list to rent a geared to income property and often, at least lately anyway, there has been a lot of criticism of the way these properties are managed, issues like bed bugs for instance being one problem that doesn't seem to get addressed adequately.
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Old 26 November 2017, 02:10 AM
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I think "subdivision" would be the closest equivalent to "housing estate." They're also frequently called "neighborhoods," but that term also encompasses areas that developed more organically/over time.
I can only speak for my part of Florida: subdivisions are neighborhoods, but not all neighborhoods are subdivisions.

Here, subdivisions have an HOA (homeowner's association) and property owners pay dues to the HOA for the upkeep of common areas. Houses in subdivisions are often built by the same developer at the same time, and often the houses follow a similar design. Each subdivision has a collective name such as "The Oaks" or "Harbor Cove" or "Shady Palms," or something along those lines. Many times they are gated or walled, with only one or two entrances, and/or a cul-de-sac at the end of one main road. The name of the subdivision is posted prominently at the entrance.

Non-HOA neighborhoods that grew over time or developed more organically may or may not have a name. Generally in those cases there are no common areas that homeowners are financially responsible for. For example, if there's a park or playground in a subdivision, it's maintained by a company hired by the HOA. If a neighborhood doesn't have an HOA, any parks or playgrounds are maintained by the city or county.

(Note these are all general examples based on where I live in Florida, and there will always be exceptions.)

Personally I use the term "neighborhood" to describe anything within reasonable walking distance, which in my case encompasses four different subdivisions. I don't know if there's a legal definition of what constitutes a neighborhood though.
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  #11  
Old 26 November 2017, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
Here, subdivisions have an HOA (homeowner's association) and property owners pay dues to the HOA for the upkeep of common areas. Houses in subdivisions are often built by the same developer at the same time, and often the houses follow a similar design. Each subdivision has a collective name such as "The Oaks" or "Harbor Cove" or "Shady Palms," or something along those lines. Many times they are gated or walled, with only one or two entrances, and/or a cul-de-sac at the end of one main road. The name of the subdivision is posted prominently at the entrance.

Non-HOA neighborhoods that grew over time or developed more organically may or may not have a name. Generally in those cases there are no common areas that homeowners are financially responsible for. For example, if there's a park or playground in a subdivision, it's maintained by a company hired by the HOA. If a neighborhood doesn't have an HOA, any parks or playgrounds are maintained by the city or county.
I don't think having an HOA is a necessary requirement for a subdivision, at least around here. I've seen subdivisions that have names and where the houses were all built at the same time by the same developer but didn't have an HOA. And there are others that have HOAs. Technically I live in one of these non-HOA subdivisions.

I say "technically" because another phenomenon I've noticed is that as a subdivision ages and the surrounding area gets built up, it sort of organically merges with surrounding subdivisions and the original name of that subdivision gets forgotten over time. According to the deed to my property I own lot number something or other in a subdivision called "Oxford Downs", but there are no signs or anything to indicate that it's called that. I would have no idea that I lived in the Oxford Downs subdivision if it wasn't for that, and for the fact that the name shows up on Google Maps. What I would consider to be "my neighborhood" is apparently a combination of three subdivisions called Oxford Downs, Sierra Woods, and an older section built in the late 1950s that seems to also have been a named subdivision at one time, but now I can't figure out what it was called. I think it was Sutter Court or something like that, it used to show up on Google Maps but doesn't seem to anymore. At the intersection of the main street through that older section and the major arterial road there's a little brick wall that looks like it used to be the sign advertising the name of that subdivision, but the letters have long since been removed.
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  #12  
Old 26 November 2017, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
Here, subdivisions have an HOA (homeowner's association) and property owners pay dues to the HOA for the upkeep of common areas. Houses in subdivisions are often built by the same developer at the same time, and often the houses follow a similar design. Each subdivision has a collective name such as "The Oaks" or "Harbor Cove" or "Shady Palms," or something along those lines. Many times they are gated or walled, with only one or two entrances, and/or a cul-de-sac at the end of one main road. The name of the subdivision is posted prominently at the entrance.

...
That almost sounds a bit like council tax (at least as it used to work, and to the extent that it's used "for the upkeep of common areas"). Council tax was supposed to cover the infrastructure for whole areas. The rest of your post just illustrates how alien the whole American system of local government - or lack of it - is, to me. How can all of that be taken for granted as something that's private and gated? How do you accept not having a say in the upkeep of the place where you live? Or do you get the right to have a say in it?

I can understand the "non-HOA" bits, but the rest of it is still rare here.

I say that, but I might be being idealistic. The upkeep of the immediate building I live in, and the surrounding garden and car park, is the responsibility of the management company of this block. By virtue of owning my flat, I also own a share in the management company (which also owns the freehold on the land, so that my leasehold is effectively paying rent to myself as a freeholder, but that's an irrelevant technicality in US terms). As owners, we pay maintenance fees to the management company, but we also own the company. So I go to the AGMs, which usually have about ten people or fewer, most of whom I know as fellow owners, and I get a very direct say, over a pretty small area, in that way. We do get a say over the people who are only renting, and are therefore not invited to these meetings, though.

I suppose that this might not be very different from what you're talking about. (And I'm in the Evil Capitalist Bastard position, simply from owning the property). It's weird that these questions about exactly who should have a say over what - which were pretty fundamental to the formation of modern democracy in the first place - are now coming back again.

Last edited by Richard W; 26 November 2017 at 03:14 AM.
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Old 26 November 2017, 04:17 AM
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How can all of that be taken for granted as something that's private and gated? How do you accept not having a say in the upkeep of the place where you live? Or do you get the right to have a say in it?
The private and gated aspect is something that has to go through legal channels. Like, you and your neighbors can't just throw up a wall around your entire neighborhood and suddenly declare yourself a subdivision and gate a public road. I mean, you could, but it wouldn't be legal. But I suppose if everyone in the neighborhood agreed that's what they wanted, they'd have to collectively hire a real estate lawyer to help with all the red tape and paperwork of forming an HOA and then applying to the local government to be able to do that sort of thing. I'm sorry I don't know the specifics of how it works though. The requirements are probably specific to each county, or city, or local ordinance.

But to answer your other questions: Once the subdivision is legally established, every property owner in a HOA community is a de facto member of the HOA, and you agree in writing to the rules when you purchase the property. There are board members made up of homeowners in the subdivision. Regular meetings are held; some HOAs hold them monthly, some quarterly, some only annually. Attendance is optional at these meetings (I've never attended one) but during them, the homeowners can file motions to formally change the rules, or address issues they're unhappy with, or agree to maintain things as they are. These are then put to a vote. You can be as involved with the board of directors as you want to be and can run for offices like president or treasurer. So in an HOA community everyone is allowed to have a say in the upkeep, but if you're outvoted you just have to deal with it.

If you live in a non-HOA neighborhood and you have an issue with general upkeep, you need to contact whatever branch of your local government is responsible for it. If there's a big issue you want addressed (say a lack of speed bumps which leads to cars speeding through your neighborhood and endangering people) you can attend a town meeting or city council meeting to make your voice heard. You can petition and plead your case, and take it to the media if necessary, but you don't get to vote on anything specific pertaining to your neighborhood. (Note: HOAs have to go through the same legal channels if they want to have speed bumps installed, but because their roads are often classified as private, and they have treasury funds to help pay for it, I think it's a bit easier to get approval from the local government.)
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Old 26 November 2017, 04:44 AM
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Thank you! Finally, a little courtesy...
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Old 26 November 2017, 02:41 PM
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Around here, not all subdivisions have HOAs.
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Old 26 November 2017, 06:44 PM
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I don't think having an HOA is a necessary requirement for a subdivision, at least around here. I've seen subdivisions that have names and where the houses were all built at the same time by the same developer but didn't have an HOA.
That version is much more common around here.

Technically a subdivision, at least in NYState and I think quite possibly elsewhere, is just any division of land. Sell off one acre of your 200 acre farm so your cousin can build a house on it? That's a subdivision (though it's probably regulated drastically differently than turning that same farm into 400 housing lots of 1/2 acre each would be.) However, when people talk about, say, 'putting in a subdivision' or 'living in that new subdivision' they're probably talking about what's sometimes also called a 'development': a situation in which a number of lots were all created at once by one developer, and may have had all the houses built in similar styles by that developer (though some developers just get the permits for that number of houses, lay out the lots, put in any needed roads/septic systems/electric lines etc., and then let individual lot buyers take care of getting the houses built, hiring whichever contractors they please. There may or may not be a restriction on styles of houses in such cases.)

Some subdivisions have rules built into the purchase deeds, but not all of them do. Some of them have HOA's that run things to various degrees, but many of them don't. Around here gated ones with private roads would be extremely rare -- it's far more common, if new roads are built, to build them to town standards and have the town take them over. That puts road maintenance onto the town as a while, while keeping the road private would mean that the lot owners would have to pay additional fees for road upkeep. [ETA: and to turn a previously existing town/county/city road into a private road you'd need to get the permission of the town/county/city; which I think would be very unlikely to be granted unless for some reason only those living in the development were likely to want to use the road.]


Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
another phenomenon I've noticed is that as a subdivision ages and the surrounding area gets built up, it sort of organically merges with surrounding subdivisions.
I've seen that also -- not only merges with any surrounding subdivison developments, but merges with the neighborhood/town/city as a whole. If the subdivision's old enough, it may take a history book, or a really good eye for what often-remodeled old houses originally looked like, to tell that there was once a subdivision development there at all.

Last edited by thorny locust; 26 November 2017 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 26 November 2017, 08:11 PM
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Around here, not all subdivisions have HOAs.
Around here HOAs are the exception rather than the rule for subdivisions.
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Old 26 November 2017, 08:18 PM
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Here you have to go out of your way to find a house connected with a home owners association. They tend (generally) to be rural, or at least very much on the fringes of the city, friends of ours that live in one near Manotick are there because it's centred around a golf course.
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Old 26 November 2017, 09:17 PM
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That puts road maintenance onto the town as a while
Way too late to edit: onto the town (or whatever type of municipality) as a whole.

And it occurs to me that I've never heard the term "neighborhood" used around here to describe a subdivision/development. It's more likely to come up as a contrasting term: 'The town shouldn't permit that subdivision! It's not compatible with the neighborhood!' -- although as has been said before many old subdivisions have blended into their neighborhoods to the point of becoming indistinguishable.
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Old 26 November 2017, 09:18 PM
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When I hear subdivisions described as neighborhoods it's generally by the people who live in them.
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